Funk in 2008
|Birth name||Terrence Funk|
June 30, 1944 |
Hammond, Indiana, U.S.
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Chainsaw Charlie
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||247 lb (112 kg)|
|Billed from||The Double Cross Ranch in Amarillo, Texas|
|Trained by||Dory Funk|
|Retired||October 24, 2015|
Terrence "Terry" Funk (born June 30, 1944) is a retired American professional wrestler and former actor, known chiefly for the hardcore wrestling style he adopted in the latter part of his career that inspired many younger wrestlers, including Mick Foley. He worked for at least 63 promotions around the world over his 50-year career, including all major American and Japanese promotions.
In major promotions, Funk is a three-time World Champion, having held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship once and ECW World Heavyweight Championship twice. He has been inducted into the WWE, WCW, Professional Wrestling, NWA, Hardcore, Wrestling Observer, and St. Louis Wrestling Halls of Fame.
Funk was a primary subject of the documentary film Beyond the Mat, and is often noted for the longevity of his career, which has included multiple "retirement" matches.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 1.1 Early career (1960s–1980s)
- 1.2 World Wrestling Federation (1985–1986)
- 1.3 Return to NWA (1989)
- 1.4 World Championship Wrestling (1994)
- 1.5 IWA Japan and the King of the Death Match tournament (1994-1995)
- 1.6 Extreme Championship Wrestling (1993–1997)
- 1.7 Return to WWF (1998)
- 1.8 Return to ECW and WCW (1998–2000)
- 1.9 Second return to WWE and part time appearances (2006–2013)
- 1.10 Independent circuit (2002–2015)
- 2 Other media
- 3 Personal life
- 4 In wrestling
- 5 Championships and accomplishments
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Footnotes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1960s–1980s)
After playing football at West Texas State University, Funk started out his career in 1965, working in his father Dory Funk, Sr.'s National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) promotion in Amarillo, Texas. He and his brother, Dory Funk, Jr., quickly rose up the ranks as a team and in single matches against top names like Ernie Ladd and Hank James. They became big money wrestlers by the end of the decade. In 1975, Terry defeated Jack Brisco for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in Tampa, when Dory failed to appear for a title shot. He began a fourteen-month title reign defending the title against Jack Brisco, Dusty Rhodes, Carlos Rocha, Giant Baba and Pat O`Connor. In addition to North America, he defended the belt in Australia, Japan and Singapore. The historic reign ended in Toronto when he was defeated by "Handsome" Harley Race, who won the title for the second time. Race lifted Funk for a shinbreaker and then trapped him in an Indian death leglock. When Funk failed to respond to referee Fred Atkins the match was stopped. Terry took some time off after his world title reign and traveled around the country, mostly in Texas, Florida, and Detroit, with his brother Dory. Terry and Dory, Jr. also made a name for themselves in Japan. Terry made a name for himself in Japan and became a star in the eyes of the Japanese fans with his over the top mannerisms, sometimes colorful get-ups, and his brawling ability. In Japan, the Funks were heels until they faced The Sheik and Abdullah The Butcher in Tokyo. The two later faced Stan Hanson, Bruiser Brody, and Giant Baba in memorable feuds as well. Terry would also visit Puerto Rico, where he wrestled against the Puerto Rico territory's top face Carlos Colon.
World Wrestling Federation (1985–1986)
Terry Funk made his World Wrestling Federation (WWF) debut in 1985. In his televised debut on Championship Wrestling, he not only beat Aldo Marino, but he also beat on ring announcer Mel Phillips. Funk attacked Phillips, after Phillips made the mistake of putting on Funk`s cowboy hat. Funk also had a gimmick of carrying a branding iron with him to ringside and using it to "brand" his fallen opponents. The attack on Phillips lead to a feud with Junkyard Dog. In the mid-1980s, Funk teamed with Dory (calling himself "Hoss" Funk) and Jimmy Jack Funk, a storyline "brother." They were managed by Jimmy Hart. At the time, he had a heated rivalry with the Junkyard Dog which led to a match between Terry Funk and Hoss Funk and the team of Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog at WrestleMania 2. Terry also had a series of WWF title matches against Hulk Hogan.
Return to NWA (1989)
In 1989, Funk returned to the NWA and joined the J-Tex Corporation. He began feuding with Ric Flair, who had defeated Ricky Steamboat at WrestleWar for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Funk, who was one of three judges for the main event, challenged Flair to a title match. Flair refused, saying that Funk was "spending time in Hollywood" instead of focusing on wrestling. Funk then attacked, piledriving Flair on a ringside table. This put the champion, Flair, out of action until the Great American Bash where he faced Funk. Flair won the match by reversing a small package into one of his own, but shortly after was attacked by Gary Hart and The Great Muta. Sting came to aid Flair and the two brawled with Funk and Muta to close the show. Funk got injured but returned to continue feuding with Ric Flair. The two then had an "I Quit" match at Clash of the Champions, which Funk lost after yelling "Yes, I quit!" after Flair put on the Figure four leglock. This match received a 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer. A notable part of the feud occurred when Funk used an actual plastic shopping bag to suffocate Flair on television after Flair and Sting defeated Muta and Dick Slater at Clash of the Champions. After losing a Clash of Champions match against Flair, he shook Flair's hand, and was attacked by Gary Hart's stable. Soon after he became a color commentator and the host of his own segment Funk's Grill where a tuxedo clad Funk would amiably interview the top stars of WCW, both face and heel. This did not last long and he left soon after for the USWA.
World Championship Wrestling (1994)
In 1994, Funk reappeared in World Championship Wrestling and wrestled Tully Blanchard to a double disqualification at Slamboree 1994 and later that night, he became a member of Colonel Robert Parker's Stud Stable. Along with Bunkhouse Buck, Arn Anderson and Meng, the stable would focus their energies on Dusty and Dustin Rhodes, as well as The Nasty Boys, culminating in a War Games match at Fall Brawl.
IWA Japan and the King of the Death Match tournament (1994-1995)
In 1994, Terry Funk would join the fledgling IWA Japan wrestling promotion. Funk would go on to be a participant in IWA's most famous event the King of the Death Match Tournament, held on August 20th 1995 in Kawasaki. Funk would first defeat Leatherface and Tiger Jeet Singh in extreme-style matches which featured barbed wire covered boards, glass, and chains before moving on to the finals of the tournament. In the finals, Funk was defeated by protégé Cactus Jack, later known by US audiences as Mick Foley, in a No Ropes Barbed Wire Exploding Barbed Wire Boards & Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death Match.
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1993–1997)
Later in Funk's career, his style changed from wrestling traditional southern style wrestling matches to the more violent style of hardcore wrestling. In 1993, after a special appearance against Tully Blanchard at World Championship Wrestling's Slamboree, Funk promised to help the fledgling Eastern Championship Wrestling (later renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling or ECW) by lending his talent and notoriety to the promotion, which had just split from the NWA. On July 16, Terry and Dory Funk lost a barbed wire match against The Public Enemy. Funk maintained a regular schedule of wrestling for ECW in its early days while also competing in Japan. He had many feuds and wrestled programs with wrestlers such as Cactus Jack, "The Franchise" Shane Douglas, The Sandman, Sabu, and Terry's own protege, Tommy Dreamer.
Funk further elevated ECW by headlining their first pay-per-view, Barely Legal on April 13, 1997, winning the ECW Championship from Raven. Earlier in the night, he defeated The Sandman and Stevie Richards in a Triple Threat match, thus earning him the match with Raven. He was later defeated for the title by Sabu in a barbed wire match at Born to Be Wired, in which the ropes of the ring were taken down and replaced with barbed wire. Both men had to be cut out of the wires at the end of the match. Sabu had his biceps visibly torn open by the barbed wire - as a result, the wound was taped up and the match continued. In September of that same year, a show was held in Funk's hometown of Amarillo. It was called "WrestleFest - 50 Years of Funk" and was both his own show and a celebration of the careers of Terry, his father, and his brother. Terry lost to then WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart in the main event, a non-title match. However, before the match, ECW owner Paul Heyman presented Terry with a belt, paid for through a collection taken up by wrestlers on the ECW roster, that declared him the Lifetime ECW World Heavyweight Champion.
Return to WWF (1998)
Funk's retirement lasted just three months before he started taking independent bookings again. Soon after, he was signed by the WWF and debuted as Chainsaw Charlie, a character loosely based on Leatherface. Funk had a match with Mick Foley on Raw, the match was thrown into disarray when the New Age Outlaws came out and placed both men in a dumpster, and then pushed them off of the stage. This led The Outlaws facing Funk/Foley at WrestleMania XIV, for the WWF Tag Team Championship in a Dumpster match where Funk and Foley beat the New Age Outlaws. The next night the Tag Team Titles, were put on the line in a Steel Cage match where they were defeated by The Outlaws. Funk then had a Falls Count Anywhere match with Cactus Jack on Raw in 1998, where Jack defeated him. His last match in the WWF during this stint was a tag team match at Fully Loaded, where he teamed up with Bradshaw to go against Scorpio and Faarooq. Following his departure from WWF, Funk would retire once more from wrestling but the retirement was short-lived as he would reappear in ECW the same year.
Return to ECW and WCW (1998–2000)
At ECW November to Remember, Funk was believed to have been a mystery partner against Justin Credible and Jack Victory. However, the mystery partner turned out to be Jake Roberts. An enraged Funk attacked Dreamer at every opportunity in late 1998 and early 1999. Funk, however, came down ill before they could have a match, and Funk "retired" yet again in mid-1999.
Funk wrestled for World Championship Wrestling in 2000, winning the WCW Hardcore Championship three times (which stands as the company's record) and the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship for the second time (the first time was under the NWA banner). He was also the WCW Commissioner at one time and the leader of the short-lived Old Age Outlaws that feuded with the nWo.
Second return to WWE and part time appearances (2006–2013)
Funk was set to wrestle at the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view on June 11, 2006. As part of the buildup to the event, Funk appeared on the May 15 episode of Raw, where he confronted Mick Foley over the attack of Tommy Dreamer the previous week. At One Night Stand, Funk, Tommy Dreamer, and Beulah McGillicutty were defeated by the team of Foley, Edge and Lita. Midway through the match, Foley injured Funk's left eye with barbed wire, and Funk was taken backstage. He later returned to the match (with a bloody cloth tied over his eye) to hit Foley with a flaming 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire.
Independent circuit (2002–2015)
From 2002 to 2004, Funk was a regular top star for Ring of Honor Wrestling and Major League Wrestling. Funk had several battles with the likes of CM Punk, the Extreme Horsemen (Steve Corino, C.W. Anderson, Justin Credible and Simon Diamond) in specialty matches such as a No Ropes Barbed Wire Death Match, and a 5 on 5 WarGames match. On the last MLW show, Funk was attacked by his former manager Gary Hart and his syndicate. In November 2004, Funk competed in the UK wrestling company FWA's annual show entitled British Uprising. He teamed with Paul Burchill and Paul Travell to face The Triad in a 6-Man Tag Team match. Funk's team emerged victorious in front of a crowd of 2,000 people in the Coventry Skydome.
On February 18, 2004, Funk competed for TNA where he and Raven defeated the team of Julio Dinero & CM Punk.
In 2005, Funk received an offer from World Wrestling Entertainment to appear at the ECW reunion show One Night Stand, but turned it down in favor of working the ECW nostalgia show Hardcore Homecoming that was being put together by Shane Douglas. At Hardcore Homecoming, Funk lost a three-way barbed wire match to Sabu.
After the one-off appearance at the WWE produced ECW One Night Stand, Funk then returned to the independent circuit and made appearances in Japan. He claimed to be semi-retired after wrestling in his last match in September 2006 against Jerry "The King" Lawler in an Extreme Rules match at The Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton, Oklahoma for the promotion Impact Zone Wrestling. Funk was also the special guest referee during the Raven and Johnny Webb vs. Khan Kussion and Homeless Jimmy match at "Cold Day in Hell" on May 24.
On May 23, 2009, Funk made an unannounced appearance at a house show for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. At the show, Terry joined longtime friend, Mick Foley, as special guest enforcers for a match between Scott Steiner and Samoa Joe. On August 8, Terry made a surprise appearance for Insane Clown Posse's Juggalo Championship Wrestling at the 10th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos. He served as special guest referee for a match between Viscera and 2 Tuff Tony.
Funk also appeared at the annual NJPW January 4 Dome Show in 2010, teaming with Manabu Nakanishi, Masahiro Chono and Riki Choshu to defeat Abdullah the Butcher, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano.
Funk was scheduled to be the special guest referee in a match between Kevin Nash and Hannibal for a Great North Wrestling event in May 2010. During the press conference to announce his involvement, an altercation involving Funk and Hannibal damaged and possibly broke Funk's eardrum.
Funk appeared at the fifth WrestleReunion event at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles, California from January 28 to 30, 2011. On the second day of the event, he competed in a Legends Battle Royale on the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show. He lasted until the end where he was eliminated by Roddy Piper.
Funk wrestled Jerry Lawler unsuccessfully in a "No holds barred contest" for Northeast Wrestling on October 1, 2011.
On October 15, 2011, Funk unsuccessfully faced his long-time friend and protégé Tommy Dreamer at the AWE "Night Of Legends" event. In a shoot interview conducted the next day featuring himself and Dreamer, Funk stated that he believed that would be his last match.
On January 12, 2013, Funk stated that he was officially retired from professional wrestling at age 68, however, it would seem that Funk is once again out of retirement.
On October 27, 2013, Funk returned to All Japan Pro Wrestling, teaming with Dory in a tag team match, where they wrestled Masanobu Fuchi and Osamu Nishimura to a twenty-minute time limit draw. On November 9, 2013, Funk appeared at House of Hardcore 3 as Tommy Dreamer's tag team partner. They defeated Sean Waltman and Lance Storm and the match was promoted as the last time Dreamer and Funk would wrestle together. On December 11, 2014, Funk returned to Japan for a Tokyo Gurentai independent event, which saw him, Masakatsu Funaki and Mil Máscaras defeat Kaz Hayashi, Nosawa Rongai and Yoshiaki Fujiwara in a six-man tag team main event.
On October 16, 2015, Funk made an appearance at AIW's Big Trouble in Little Cleveland event, where he attacked Eddie Kingston and workers at the concession stand.
In 1999, Funk was featured in director Barry Blaustein's wrestling documentary, Beyond the Mat. His legendary toughness was attested to in the wrestling documentary when cameramen followed him to a medical appointment where he was told, by the doctor, that he should not even be able to walk without intense pain. He has also appeared in other movies such as Road House, Paradise Alley, The Ringer, and Over the Top. He released an autobiography, Terry Funk: More Than Just Hardcore, in 2005. On May 11, 2010, Funk appeared on "Right After Wrestling" with Arda Ocal on SIRIUS Satellite Radio to discuss his possible retirement, to which he replied "I never really truly will retire". This was also the interview with the infamous quote, "I dislike Vince (McMahon). I'm jealous of Vince."
In 1985, Terry Funk appeared in the short-lived western "Wildside". Only six episodes were aired.
Terry Funk also had a short lived career in music. The release of the album "Great Texan" in 1984 which was a soft rock AOR oriented album. The album was met with mixed reviews and is generally considered a "cult classic" by fans.
Funk married wife Vicki Ann Weaver on August 14, 1965. Their first of two daughters, Stacy, was born on September 10, 1967, followed by Brandee on September 30, 1971. His younger daughter Brandee was married on August 14, 1993 to Larry Paul Backus. They later divorced, with Brandee remarrying Jason M. Dungan (born 1975). Funk's older daughter Stacy was married on June 23, 1997 to Kelly Don Clenney (born 1969). Their wedding was featured briefly on Barry Blaustein's wrestling documentary, Beyond the Mat. In the film as well Funk is seen with a doctor who tells him he needs a knee replacement. Years later he did have the knee replacement. For many years Terry and Vicki owned a ranch in Canyon, Texas, which they later sold.
- Signature moves
- Entrance themes
- "Spinning Toe-Hold" by Creation (Japan)
- "Man With a Harmonica" by Ennio Morricone (NWA / ECW / WCW)
- "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Japan / ECW)
- "Desperado" by The Eagles (ECW)
- "Armed & Rambunctious" by Jim Johnston (WWF)
- "Hardcore" by Jim Johnston (WWF)
- "Trash Metal" by Jim Johnston (WWF)
- "Fistful (Instrumental Version)" by Cypress Hill (WCW)
- "Road To Texas" by Jim Johnston (WWE)
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Dory Funk, Jr.
- NWA Florida Television Championship (1 time)
- NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (1 time) – with Dory Funk, Jr.
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (2 times)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Eastern Championship Wrestling / Extreme Championship Wrestling
- George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2010
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / World Championship Wrestling
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- NWA Western States Sports
- NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Amarillo version) (2 times)
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Dory Funk, Jr.
- NWA Western States Heavyweight Championship (12 times)
- NWA Western States Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Ricky Romero (2) and The Lawman (1)
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Texas version) (2 times) – with Dory Funk, Jr.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Feud of the Year (1989) vs. Ric Flair
- PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1997)
- PWI Wrestler of the Year (1976)
- PWI ranked him #22 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1991
- PWI ranked him #22 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- PWI ranked him #9 of the top 100 tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Dory Funk, Jr. in 2003
- Southwest Championship Wrestling
- St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2010
- Tokyo Sports
- World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Paradise Alley (1978, also stunt coordinator)
- Over the Top (1987)
- Timestalkers (1987)
- Road House (1989)
- Mom, Can I Keep Her? (1998)
- Active Stealth (1999)
- Beyond the Mat (1999)
- Friday Night Lights (2004) (Uncredited role)
- The Ringer (2005)
- Holyman Undercover (2010)
- Marriage Retreat (2011)
- Guido (2011)
- Dark Star Hollow (2012)
- Music Discography
- Great Texan (1984)
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